Wailin Storms – One Foot in the Flesh Grave (Magic Bullet Records, 20 November 2015)
Wailin Storms – Rattle (Gilead Media, 15 May 2020)
Good afternoon! In case you were wondering, I don’t ALWAYS write about stuff months (or even years) later; it just usually seems to work out that way. But sometimes I actually do get the chance to share something with you while it’s still brand new!
Today let’s check out one of each: a fantastic album by North Carolina’s Wailin Storms that I really dug quite a bit when it came to my attention half a decade ago (and has been sadly gathering dust in my gargantuan to-do list ever since) plus one that the band will be putting out later this week!
Before making the trek to their current headquarters of Durham NC (and before they recorded One Foot in the Flesh Grave), Wailin Storms was originally formed by guitarist/vocalist Justin Storms in Corpus Christi TX. The tone found on both of these albums does seem to have little bits of Texas influence just as much as Carolina, as evidenced by the dark bluesy rock and reverby southern twang that pervade the majority of these songs.
From the earliest moments of One Foot‘s opener “Don’t Forget the Sun,” it’s obvious that “Wailin” is not a misnomer: Mr. Storms tends to belt out rather expressively, very much in the Samhain/Danzig almost-metal/heavy-blues-inspired tradition. The crooning occasionally turns into more of an exasperated-sounding yell, as heard in the repetition of the song title “Lost.”
Elsewhere the band take on more of a punk-influenced sound, whether in the form of The Damned‘s darker vibe (e.g. “Mystery Girl”) or the more straightforward punk rock feel of “Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board.” Closing things out, “German Fur Tails” has somewhat of a heavier, denser arrangement — compared with the somewhat sparser approach on the earlier tracks — or some might say more of a metallic aura.
Picking up right where the earlier record left off*, the forthcoming Rattle also starts off with a dark-blues energy, but this time around with a very heavy groove to it. The vocals here would also be accurately described as “Wailin” although — specifically on the opening title track as well as the closing “End” — somewhat more in the style of Magnus Pelander of Witchcraft. The Danzig comparison also holds true here, most evidently in the way “Crow” starts out kind of chill and subdued but then builds up from there.
“Wish” also starts off more minimal-sounding, carried mostly by the bassline, and with more reverby-twangy blues guitar, though after a bit it too picks up significantly. Otherwise, this new album is mostly more metallic than the one that came earlier; intense and powerful, occasionally even manic (“Teeth”), sometimes again incorporating bits of punk influence (the sort of thrashy-guttery “Rope”), and at certain points even ultra-heavy (the thunderous unison rhythms of “Sun”).
In the end, though, the two albums have more common threads than points of contrast, and fans of gloomy heavy blues rock would be doing themselves a favor by checking out either one. Or both.
You can stream or download the One Foot debut, or find it on vinyl, right here.
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http://www.facebook.com/magicbulletrecords (no longer active)
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* I realize the band has had other releases in between these two, just bear with me please.